Youth held in Armenian editor's death
Journalist refused to meet with teen, media reports
ISTANBUL -- Police detained a teenager suspected in the slaying of an ethnic Armenian journalist, acting on a tip from the youth's father after his pictures were broadcast on Turkish television, Istanbul's governor said yesterday.
Ogun Samast, who is 16 or 17 years old, was caught on a bus in the Black Sea city of Samsun, Governor Muammer Guler said. The suspect was apparently on his way from Istanbul back to his home town of Trabzon, the governor said.
Hrant Dink, the 52-year-old editor of the Turkish-Armenian newspaper Agos, was gunned down outside his newspaper's office in Istanbul on Friday.
Most Turks assume Dink was targeted for his columns saying the killing of ethnic Armenians by Turks in the early 20th century was genocide.
Nationalists consider such statements an insult to Turkey's honor and a threat to its unity, and Dink had been showered with insults and threats.
Guler said Samast was arrested in an operation coordinated by police and security officials at the Samsun bus station. Video footage showed police at the station inspecting a pistol and then placing it into an evidence bag.
Guler said Samast's father had turned him in.
Samast's photograph was caught by a security camera about two blocks from the scene of the crime in Istanbul and was broadcast live on television stations across Turkey yesterday.
Guler said earlier that Dink's secretary had identified the youth in the photograph as the same person who had requested a meeting with Dink the day he was killed, the Anatolia news agency reported. The teen was a student at Ankara University, Guler said.
The request was refused, and the secretary said she saw him waiting in front of a bank about an hour before Dink was killed, Anatolia reported.
Guler said the teen was being brought back to Istanbul for questioning along with six other suspects from Trabzon.
Police were investigating whether the suspect acted alone .
Threats and violence against Turkish editors and reporters are not uncommon, and well-known journalists commonly receive police protection .
Dink was alone when he was killed.
He was no stranger to hatred. "Hundreds of threats via e-mail, phone calls, and letters were pouring down, and they were increasing day by day in number," he wrote in his last newspaper column, dated Jan. 10.
Guler rejected accusations that the government did not do enough to protect Dink.
"Because he didn't request protection, he didn't get close protection," Guler said yesterday. "Only general security precautions were taken."